Knee Jerk Reaction: Welcome to the depth parade

Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Alex Hobson
12 days ago
The Toronto Maple Leafs threw another fork into former assistant coach Spencer Carbery’s late-season push to get the Washington Capitals to the playoffs in his first season as head coach. After scoring a touchdown and kicking an extra point against them in their home building, the festivities continued for the Leafs with a 5-1 win on home ice.
Auston Matthews had 10 shots, so surely he had at least two of the goals, right?
False. Instead, you can look to Tyler Bertuzzi (times two), Bobby McMann, Connor Dewar, and Mark Giordano. The Leafs did everything they could to get their superstar goals #59 and #60 in the final minutes of the game, coming disturbingly close on a couple of occasions. Ultimately, the depth along with a steady performance in net from Joseph Woll are the reason the team prevailed at home tonight and maintained their four-point lead on the Tampa Bay Lightning in the wildcard race.
Shoutout to Dewar, who picked up his first goal as a Leaf with help from Ryan Reaves and David Kampf, but Giordano’s goal was the easiest to root for by far. It was his first game back after suffering an injury on February 29, and he celebrated the occasion by opening the scoring and pointing to the sky to honour his father, Paul, who passed away only weeks before he suffered his injury.
After the Leafs came out hot against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday and subsequently choked it away, it was a refreshing change of pace to see them get contributions from all around the lineup and shut down a team that’s playing for their lives right now.
Bertuzzi all of a sudden has 12 goals in his last 19 games and is doing precisely what you would’ve expected him to do back in July when he signed his contract. He was always advertised to bring an element the Leafs didn’t have, and that element shines the most near the end of the season. If he can bring this play into the postseason, it will provide some much-needed relief from the stress that comes with their issues regarding special teams and goaltending.
Woll was far sturdier in the crease than he was against New Jersey, stopping 24 of 25 shots for the win, and to make matters even more impressive, he did it while taking a break from being a superhero to the Toronto community and the children over at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. True story.
The Leafs’ next opportunity to expand their lead on the Tampa Bay Lightning and pursue Auston Matthews’ 60th of the season will come on Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres.

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